Time draws near for minority students seeking financial assistance

February 04, 2002

The deadline of March 1, 2002 is fast approaching for submitting applications to the American Chemical Society's Scholars Program.

The ACS Scholars Program, which received the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, supports academically accomplished African American, Hispanic and Native American students in their pursuit of undergraduate studies in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, environmental science, and related disciplines in two- and four-year college and university programs. Program recipients are eligible to receive between $2500 and $3000 per academic year.

The program's manager, Robert Hughes, said the Society "expects to award $850,000 to current and new scholars over the next two semesters."

According to the Society's ChemCensus Report, relatively few minorities major in science-related disciplines at the college level. In 2000, for example, those of Hispanic heritage, or 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, represented 2.6 percent of the chemistry workforce; African Americans, at almost 12 percent of the population, comprised less than two percent of the chemical workforce; and Native Americans, representing one percent of the population, made up less than one percent of the chemical workforce.

Since the Society launched the Scholars Program with a $5 million grant in 1995, over 1,100 students have won scholarships based on a mix of academic achievement and financial need. Since inception, students in the program have represented 390 colleges and universities in 48 states and territories, according to Hughes.

"I was really excited," said La'Techa Johnson, a former participant hired as a plant chemist by PPG Industries in Baton Rouge, La. "I didn't think I'd be hired right out of college." The company's interest in Johnson began when she was a chemistry major at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge.

PPG and other firms including Astra Zeneca, Bayer, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline and Xerox have all contributed $100,000 or more to the program. Many companies offer mentoring and paid internships to selected program participants as an integral part of a student's academic and career development plan.

For more details on the ACS Scholars Program, including an online application form, please visit http://www.acs.org/scholars or telephone 1-800-227-5558, extension 6250.

American Chemical Society

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